THE CHILD OF THE SEA by Elizabeth Goudge

THE CHILD OF THE SEA is an historical novel, written by Elizabeth Goudge (1900-1984) and published in 1970. It concerns the story of Lucy Walter, the secret wife or mistress of Charles II (reigned 1660-1685).

Given this description, I would not expect anything special from this novel, other than it being a bit old-fashioned. And it is old-fashioned. Although the romance between King Charles and Lucy Walter is central to the novel, this is no bodice-ripper. Instead, it is a sensitive depiction of what it means to come from a broken home. Lucy’s parents do not get on, and have frequent arguments. Eventually, they separate. In seventeenth-century  England, it was not easy to get a divorce. But the pain that Lucy feels about her broken home is wonderfully portrayed.

Elizabeth Goudge is also unusual for trying to portray characters who are truly good, without making them seem boring or smug. In her characterization, Lucy Walters is a truly good young woman, who tragically becomes entangled with the young Charles when he is trying to flee from the Roundheads, experiences the pain and worry of those years of hardship when he had to live in exile in France while England was governed by Oliver Cromwell. But when Charles became King, he put Lucy aside, and married a Portuguese princess.  Lucy dies in Paris, in poverty, at the age of twenty-eight.

Of course many of you will want to read this book to find out more about Charles Stuart before he became King of England, and about the young woman whom he may have married. But this book can be used in another way. This old-fashioned masterpiece has the right healing touch for those children trying to cope with the misery of a broken home. THE CHILD OF THE SEA is a valuable supplement to all the self-help books that are now available.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear. FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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